"Best Musical on the Fringe"
by Sarah Kosar for remotegoat on 19/11/10

The Cock can sing.

'Pins and Needles' by Harold Rome sees it's UK Premiere in 2010. It was originally written and performed in New York City in 1931 by the Cultural and Recreational Division of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union. It then became the longest running show in Broadway history until 1945, and also the only Broadway hit produced and performed by a labour union.

When reviving a musical, much less another country-specific one, it is a waste of time unless it is relevant now. Theatre is a vehicle to look at society and 'Pins and Needles' is endlessly relevant and entertaining today. With songs like "We'd rather be right." "A Matter of Principle," and "Mene Mene Tekel."we find connections with the modern day teaparty, right wing, and social injustice. The choreography by Nicola Martin and Josephine Kiernanan is ironic, beautiful, and effective. They use reflections on the era it was written and translate the movement into modern day commentary. One of the highlights of the night was a song called "Four Little Angels," in which we find Chamberlain, Hirohito, Mussolini and Hitler battling each other as violent angels. Brilliant. Hilarious. Encore! We find reliability in the struggle and humour, while it's impact still echos. 'Pins and Needles' kept me endlessly laughing and surprised at the superb production values.

The ensemble perform to the highest caliber. Elain Llloyd's voice sticks out as an especially refreshing powerhouse in the small Cock studio. In most fringe musicals, we struggle with space, but "Pins and Needles" grabs the wooden stage and makes top shelf lemonade out of the bruised lemons they were given. I was impressed, in stitches, and wanting more. Keep surprising me, Cock Tavern!

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